Quantis Sustainability Solutions for Food & Beverage Sectors

By Kitty Wheeler
Quantis offers sustainability solutions for worldwide food and beverage companies.
Quantis' new report "Recipe for Transformation" uncovers each sector within food & beverage companies, and how they can realistically adopt sustainability.
Key facts from Quantis report:
  • Confidence in reaching company sustainability goals rose 28% with established sustainability KPIs (key performance indicators).
  • The food and beverage sector could lose about 7% of its value by 2030.
  • 30-40% of the world’s food is lost or wasted every year, and some studies estimate it may account for 8% of global emissions.

Quantis, a leading sustainability consultancy firm, has published a report exploring why food and beverage companies find it so challenging to meet sustainability goals, and also offers advice on ways to resolve this problem.

Quantis has partnerships with companies including Microsoft, Mondelez, and Danone, and the company has not just opened up the conversation on sustainability, but pulled up the root to examine what the challenges are, why they exist, and how companies can move forward

The report stresses that until food and beverage companies consider environmental factors from a holistic standpoint, they will not see the full extent of nature-based risk and its impact on their businesses.

Quantis specialises in product lifecycle assessments (LCA), environmental foot printing, and sustainability strategy development. Its expertise centres around quantifying environmental impacts and guiding organisations to reduce emissions, waste, and resource consumption along value chains.

It surveyed over 600 managers and executive-level employees working for food & beverage companies of more than 500 employees. Key findings include:

  • 47% of EU respondents see regulations as a primary driver of sustainability. 
  • 42% view supply chain complexity as the biggest barrier to transformation.
  • 100% of marketing and procurement respondents see a shift towards sustainability among consumers and suppliers.

Quantis produced the report in response to the serious and long-standing supply chain and sustainability challenges faced by the food and drink sector.

The food and beverage industry worldwide faces ongoing disruptions triggered by environmental emergencies that threaten its stability, such as flooding, and unpredictable temperatures that are impacting yields and drought.

Suppliers also face poor ingredient quality or low availability, then encounter difficulty transporting commodities due to weather-related delays, and even marketers experience an uphill battle compensating for shortages and price increases.

Thibault Tribolet, sustainability consultant for Quantis, provides some insight into the company's history of prioritising sustainability. 

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Overall, major food companies worldwide encounter challenges in achieving sustainability goals due to complex supply chains, resource-intensive production processes, and conflicting priorities between profit maximisation and environmental stewardship. 

Additionally, factors like agricultural practices, transportation networks, packaging materials, and consumer demand patterns pose obstacles to implementing sustainable practices at scale. 

Key Quantis steps for food and beverage companies to meet sustainability goals

In the report, Quantis explores sustainable integration processes across five key areas: sustainability, product, procurement, finance and marketing. 

Product

After assessment, the report says selected products can be “renovated to meet new sustainability goals — or find opportunities to develop new products that will.”

It adds that using LCA data, products can be analysed and compared to assess their impact. In the first transformative process, says Quantis, simple screening and spreadsheets can be used, but that the latest digital footprinting tools should be  favoured for robust analysis at scale. 

It also advises companies to provide a holistic view, and says product LCAs can help track environmental impact of products, – from the extraction of raw materials to the manufacturing and consumption stages. 

It adds that LCAs help  minimise the impact of ingredients on emissions relating to transportation and processing And that they also help control carbon emissions from land and water use. 

Procurement

The report urges procurement teams to integrate environmental risk into large-scale decisions, to see where risk jeopardises the supply of critical raw materials and therefore determine where supply shifts may be needed. 

It says such shifts could involve working with suppliers to reduce their impacts, sourcing a different raw material to vary crop supply, or diversifying sourcing regions.

Assessing these risks could indicate where the cost of inaction might overpower the cost of investment in supply chain resilience, it states.

It goes on to advise that, once risks and mitigation strategies have been decided, procurement teams could “go one step further and embed sustainability into buyer practices.”

Finance

As expectations and regulations multiply, finance teams cannot ignore sustainability, says Quantis.

Quantis believes that all sectors across food and beverage companies should strategically align to meet achieve sustainability goals.

With upskilling, awareness around sustainability and funding for sustainability adopted into the budget, Quantis says finance teams can maximise sustainability values and sales. 

It adds that, as these metrics become a central part of non-financial disclosures and environmental factors, finance teams will need to adapt. 

Marketing 

Marketing represents the face of a brand or company, and so at a corporate level, “at the corporate level, marketing helps define and communicate the company’s sustainability narrative to an external audience” the report says.

It adds: “this means working with leadership to identify how the brand expresses sustainability through its purpose and actions, and weaving it into a story that can be shared with consumers.”

It goes on to say marketing teams should also support internal communications, to educate employees about sustainability, so that they are aligned with company values on sustainability. This, it says, must start with the CEO.

The report states that if people leading companies understand the environmental risks and opportunities that align with company goals through data, they can see the exposed vulnerability and how they might affect the business financially.

It adds that this will enable leadership to “focus sustainability efforts for the best possible return and, consequently, guarantee the CEO’s support for these critical investments.”

And regarding supply chain, companies that have control over their energy supply can more easily invest in renewable sources, presenting an opportunity for savings and future resilience.

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